Swiss Colony for more refined palates?
November 19, 2020 2:12 PM   Subscribe

Growing up my family placed an annual holiday order from Swiss Colony and I have many fond memories of tables covered with Incredible Spreadable cheese, petit-fours, assorted sausages, and a Forest Friends cake. I want to recapture that, but have grown up to be a snobby foodie type and prefer better chocolate, charcuterie instead of a Beef Log, etc.. Where can I get Swiss Colony-esque stuff but for snobby foodies? :)

I know I can buy the things I know I like individually, and make my own cakes and petit-fours and cheese spreads, but there's also something fun and special about ordering from a specific place that has it all for the special occasion. Plus, y'know, I'm tired and there won't be a large gathering because pandemic, and the usual barrage of holiday cooking is not happening.
posted by rhiannonstone to Food & Drink (18 answers total) 36 users marked this as a favorite
Harry and David is at least a step up from Swiss Colony. A notch up from there is Williams-Sonoma. As a Vermonter I would be remiss not to suggest a couple of Vermont options like Dakin Farm, Vermont Country Deli, or Sugarbush Farm. But if you are partial to any particular region and what to localize your order, there are outfits like that all over the country. Search "[name of state or region] gift basket."
posted by beagle at 2:27 PM on November 19 [6 favorites]

Hickory Farms comes to mind
posted by rjacobs at 2:29 PM on November 19 [2 favorites]

My search for pasture-raised cheese spreads was failing to turn up any results. You may have to wait a few years: I remember when all I wanted was a decent low-quality ethical candy. Now there are lots!
posted by aniola at 2:37 PM on November 19

Thanks for the suggestions so far! I definitely want to focus more on the overall "place that sells many tasty things appropriate for holiday celebrations" than any one specific item like the cheese spreads.

Although if you are in the market, there are some smaller cheesemakers that do make excellent spreads, like Sweet Grass Dairy's pimento spread :)

Unless they've changed significantly since I last encountered a Hickory Farms mall kiosk, they're pretty much on the same level as Swiss Colony, and I'm hoping for a step up.
posted by rhiannonstone at 2:43 PM on November 19 [3 favorites]

Try Zingermans, they have all kinds of foodie delights and I’m sure they’d make a custom gift basket if one of their standard ones doesn’t float your boat.
posted by msbubbaclees at 2:54 PM on November 19 [17 favorites]

Oh man, I'd completely forgotten about Swiss Colony until I clicked and saw those petit-fours! Thank you for the nostalgia bomb.

I've never tried Zingerman's but friends talk about their stuff all the time.

Frog Hollow Farms is vastly better (also much more expensive) than Harry & David.

Olympia Provisions does outstanding preserved meats and other items (they're also expensive, unsurprisingly).

P. S. I've had Hickory Farms recently and would agree that they're about the same quality level as SC.
posted by wintersweet at 2:56 PM on November 19 [2 favorites]

Bi-Rite and La Cocina are good local options, if you're still in SF.
posted by scyllary at 3:03 PM on November 19

Gotta plug Zabar's and Eli Zabar's

And read this article about the difference.

Or some Russ & Daughters sounds delightful.
posted by brookeb at 3:03 PM on November 19

Cowgirl Creamery has a nice selection of artisan cheeses.
posted by effluvia at 3:15 PM on November 19 [1 favorite]

Manhattan Fruitier has beautiful, high-quality food gifts, and not just fruit. They have cookies, cheese, candy, salami and other gourmet treats. Their gifts are beautifully packaged, too. If you happen to be sending the gift to NYC, you can even get same day delivery.

I have ordered baskets from them, and the recipients were very impressed with how delicious (and pretty) everything was.
posted by zorseshoes at 3:47 PM on November 19 [3 favorites]

Nthing Zingerman's, Manhattan Fruitier, and Cowgirl Creamery. All super high quality, with treats in multiple categories. Also, Murray's Cheese.
posted by BlahLaLa at 4:11 PM on November 19 [1 favorite]

If you want to go super fancy for meat you can't go wrong with Jamon Iberico from La Tienda.
posted by Alison at 4:28 PM on November 19 [2 favorites]

Di Bruno Bros. is fantastic, and has a lot of gift basket type things. Looks like they're also carrying cookies from Isgro's, which is a separate small business and an excellent bakery.

Claudio's is another Philly cheese etc option, I'd say they have the same high quality of food but slightly less "upscale" presentation than Di Bruno's. Claudio's and Di Bruno's are the kind of places you could probably call and talk to the cheesemonger about your personal preferences. (I miss the days when the guys at Claudio's knew me, and my tastes in cheese. Love them.)
posted by sepviva at 4:29 PM on November 19 [1 favorite]

Vermont Country Store has a ton of seasonal foods. The Honeybaked Ham people also have some nice stuff. (Sorry can't link on mobile)
posted by The otter lady at 5:36 PM on November 19

Chukar Cherries are delicious - more dried fruit and nuts than cheese and sausage though.
posted by clew at 8:43 PM on November 19

Seconding DiBrunos!
posted by OrangeVelour at 3:49 PM on November 21

You may want to browse Goldbelly
posted by shw at 7:04 AM on November 22

This won't help you (sorry) but readers in Canada (especially Ottawa) will want to know about They deliver shelf-stable items anywhere in Canada and everything else locally.
posted by Frenchy67 at 10:02 AM on November 24 [2 favorites]

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